National policy on beekeeping in offing

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By Brian Ssenoga

Posted  Wednesday, December 4   2013 at  00:00

The wait for the National Apiculture Policy may end soon when it is passed by Parliament.

The debate about the policy, which has been in draft form for 10 years, has been revived by Apitrade Africa, a regional organisation involved in advocacy and beekeeping, and Tunado, an organisation for Ugandan beekeepers, honey processors and packers and other stake holders. The move is supported by Swiss Contact.

Strengthen industry
Bosco Okello, chief executive officer, Apitrade Africa, since the draft was submitted there have been a number of inconsistences that needed to be addressed. The long wait has instead worked to distort the budding market.

“We need a sustainable industry but that cannot work without a good policy. That is why we are revising the draft. We want a policy that will address certain objectives like raising public awareness, need for bees protection, stimulate investments, and strengthen marketing, increase research and development, surveillance, among others,” Okello told a stakeholders meeting in Kampala.

It was highlighted that there has been disunity in the sector members working individually with no single voice on common issues.

Dr Ann Akol, a senior entomologist at Makerere University, said the first draft presents a disjoint between the academia and the artisans and other sector players hence much of the research done stays on the shelves.

Proponents of the policy argue that such constraints are going to be ironed out this time.

Like a nod in the right direction, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) study on food crops and pollination revealed that 80 per cent of the pollination is done by bees.

Jackson Jurua, Tunado chairman, points that the draft policy on agriculture is scanty on bees.

“Bees should stand alone because they protect our ecosystem and can mitigate climate change. Pushing for the apiculture policy at the same time when the ministry is pushing for the policy on agriculture should be seen as a compliment. We are saying protect bees, they pollinate plants and the result will be food security”.